older releases of Solaris 10

If like me, you’re looking for an older release of Solaris – so you can replicate a client’s setup, you can find them atย http://www.sun.com/software/solaris/releases.jsp

I couldn’t find it without help – as Sun’s web site is a study in how to make things impossible to find.

Now to install Solaris 10 update 3 (11/06) on my old ultra sparc 5 – yep, 10 year old tech. its been sitting in the garage for the last year or so, but as its built like a tank, it seems to start fine. I do wish the 10K 18.4G Quantum cheetah wasn’t quite such a painful noise though.

My client chooses to use the http://www.sunfreeware.com/ packages – which means that to get Perl 5.8.8 humming (and subversion so I could commit TWiki fixes), required me to install:

  • db-4.2.52.NC-sol10-sparc-local
  • diffutils-2.8.1-sol10-sparc-local
  • expat-2.0.1-sol10-sparc-local
  • gcc-3.4.6-sol10-sparc-local
  • gdbm-1.8.3-sol10-sparc-local
  • grep-2.5.1a-sol10-sparc-local
  • libiconv-1.9.2-sol10-sparc-local
  • libintl-3.4.0-sol10-sparc-local
  • libxml2-2.6.31-sol10-sparc-local
  • make-3.81-sol10-sparc-local
  • ncftp-3.2.1-sol10-sparc-local
  • neon-0.25.5-sol10-sparc-local
  • neon-0.28.3-sol10-sparc-local
  • openssl-0.9.8i-sol10-sparc-local
  • pcre-7.8-sol10-sparc-local
  • perl-5.8.8-sol10-sparc-local
  • rcs-5.7-sol10-sparc-local
  • subversion-1.4.4-sol10-sparc-local
  • swig-1.3.36-sol10-sparc-local
  • wget-1.11.4-sol10-sparc-local
  • zlib-1.2.3-sol10-sparc-local

and after all that, I’m having weird spillover issues with CPAN, caused by having the built in Perl 5.8.4 in the PATH before /usr/local/bin/perl (the 5.8.8)

So if you have more than one Perl installed, and want to use CPAN – BE CAREFUL to set the PATH to use your desired Perl’s path first – calling it directly will lead to problems.

ever had Perl CPAN not work on your debian, even though you installed make etc?

CPAN, while incredibly useful, can be a pain, if you forget that you need to re-configure it after installing essential tools.

For example, if you make the mistake of setting up a basic, non-development Debian virtual machine, configure CPAN, try to use it, and on seeing ‘make’ errors like (from install Bundle::CPAN of all things) :

Running make test
Can't test without successful make
Running make install
make had returned bad status, install seems impossible
Running install for module Compress::Raw::Zlib
Running make for P/PM/PMQS/Compress-Raw-Zlib-2.012.tar.gz
Is already unwrapped into directory /root/.cpan/build/Compress-Raw-Zlib-2.012
Has already been processed within this session
Running make test
Can't test without successful make
Running make install
make had returned bad status, install seems impossible
Running make for P/PM/PMQS/IO-Compress-Zlib-2.012.tar.gz
Is already unwrapped into directory /root/.cpan/build/IO-Compress-Zlib-2.012
Has already been processed within this session
Running make test
Can't test without successful make
Running make install
make had returned bad status, install seems impossible

cpan>

You install make apt-get update ; apt-get install build-essential…, only to continue to see the same errors wizz past….

CPAN really truly needs to realise that the make settings are mis configured, and tell you.

What you need to do, is to tell your cpan about it by running:
cpan> o conf init

OR, if you’ve not yet messed (configured) up your cpan, install build-essential first.

And while you’re contemplating using cpan, think hard about trying dh-make-perl instead ๐Ÿ™‚

Ideally, CPAN should be able to realise that it can’t call make if it does not know where it is – and point this fact out, rather than making it appear as though the package being installed has an issue.

Blead Perl DTrace probes

I’ve ported my additional DTrace probes to blead perl, adding the following probes

  • new-sv and del-sv to track Perl allocations,
  • main-enter and main-exit to show what part of Perl’s execution phase we’re in
  • load-module-entry and load-module-return to instrument use, require, do.

I’ve also started to document the probes at http://wikis.sun.com/display/DTrace/perl+Provider
To use the patch,

  1. get bleadperl:
    1. rsync -avz –exclude .svn/ –delete rsync://ftp.linux.activestate.com/perl-current/ bleadperl
  2. apply the patch:
  3. cd bleadperl ; patch ../bleadperl.diff
  4. run configure with dtrace enabled:
    1. ./Configure -de -Dusedevel -Dinc_version_list=none -Dprefix=/usr/local/bleadperl/ -Dldflags=-Dman3ext=3pm -Duseithreads -Duseshrplib -Uversiononly -Dusedtrace -Doptimize=-g
  5. make
  6. make test
  7. make install
  8. run./perl.d (also found at http://distributedinformation.com/DTrace/ ) and then run whatever Perl code you want to instrument.

Perl DTrace load-module probe added – see what module is ‘do’, ‘use’ or ‘require’d

With the load-module probe, you can see at what point modules are loaded using ‘do’, ‘use’ or ‘require’.

The following code:

#!/usr/local/bin/perl -w

use strict;

my $initial = "there once was a fish. Its feet were small";
my $post = func($initial);
my $post2 = func($initial);
print "$post\n";

do 'call2.pl';
#eval `cat call2.pl`;
#use CGI::Session;

sub func {
    $_[0] =~ s/there/There/;
    return $_[0];
}

produces the following output:

ย == call1.pl ==========================================================
  perl*::perl_alloc:main-enter
  perl*::perl_alloc:main-exit,  (0/0) (56 uS)
  perl*::perl_construct:main-enter
  perl*::perl_construct:main-exit,  (12/0) (624 uS)
  perl*::perl_parse:main-enter
>>>>>>>>>> perl*::Perl_utilize:load-module-start (strict)
>>>>>>>>>> perl*::Perl_ck_require:load-module-start (strict)
<<<<<<<<<< perl*::Perl_ck_require:load-module-end (strict.pm) (3 uS)
>>>>>>>>>> perl*::Perl_ck_require:load-module-start (Carp)
<<<<<<<<<< perl*::Perl_ck_require:load-module-end (Carp.pm) (2 uS)
>>>>>>>>>> perl*::Perl_dofile:load-module-start (call2.pl)
<<<<<<<<<< perl*::Perl_dofile:load-module-end (call2.pl) (3 uS)
  perl*::perl_parse:main-exit,  (299/46) (3069 uS)
  perl*::perl_run:main-enter
>>>>>>>>>> perl*::Perl_utilize:load-module-start (strict)
>>>>>>>>>> perl*::Perl_ck_require:load-module-start (strict)
<<<<<<<<<< perl*::Perl_ck_require:load-module-end (strict.pm) (3 uS)
  perl*::perl_run:main-exit,  (69/45) (533 uS)
  perl*::perl_destruct:main-enter
  perl*::perl_destruct:main-exit,  (0/3) (24 uS)

see my perl5.8 trac for the code -or grab the modified 5.8.8 source from svn

theย  perl*::Perl_utilize:load-module-end probe is currently being worked on, and I really would like to see the actual parse component of the load separated out.

DTrace shows that readable Perl code is fastest.

I always wondered why some people write unreadable Perl. The most common reason given seems to be ‘Its faster that way’.

And so… using DTrace, and the extra probes (see the subversion repository with a patched Perl 5.8.8) I added, I thought I’d take a look.

# dtrace -l | grep perl
85614   perl1226        libperl.so                      Perl_sv_free del_sv
85615   perl1226        libperl.so                   Perl_sv_replace del_sv
85616   perl1226        libperl.so                          perl_run main_enter
85617   perl1226        libperl.so                        perl_parse main_enter
85618   perl1226        libperl.so                     perl_destruct main_enter
85619   perl1226        libperl.so                    perl_construct main_enter
85620   perl1226        libperl.so                        perl_alloc main_enter
85621   perl1226        libperl.so                          perl_run main_exit
85622   perl1226        libperl.so                        perl_parse main_exit
85623   perl1226        libperl.so                     perl_destruct main_exit
85624   perl1226        libperl.so                    perl_construct main_exit
85625   perl1226        libperl.so                        perl_alloc main_exit
85626   perl1226        libperl.so                       Perl_sv_dup new_sv
85627   perl1226        libperl.so                      Perl_newSVrv new_sv
85628   perl1226        libperl.so                      Perl_newSVsv new_sv
85629   perl1226        libperl.so                  Perl_newRV_noinc new_sv
85630   perl1226        libperl.so                      Perl_newSVuv new_sv
85631   perl1226        libperl.so                      Perl_newSViv new_sv
85632   perl1226        libperl.so                      Perl_newSVnv new_sv
85633   perl1226        libperl.so                    Perl_vnewSVpvf new_sv
85634   perl1226        libperl.so               Perl_newSVpvn_share new_sv
85635   perl1226        libperl.so                     Perl_newSVhek new_sv
85636   perl1226        libperl.so                     Perl_newSVpvn new_sv
85637   perl1226        libperl.so                      Perl_newSVpv new_sv
85638   perl1226        libperl.so                 Perl_sv_newmortal new_sv
85639   perl1226        libperl.so                Perl_sv_mortalcopy new_sv
85640   perl1226        libperl.so                        Perl_newSV new_sv
85641   perl1226        libperl.so                      Perl_pp_sort sub-entry
85642   perl1226        libperl.so                   Perl_pp_dbstate sub-entry
85643   perl1226        libperl.so                  Perl_pp_entersub sub-entry
85644   perl1226        libperl.so                      Perl_pp_last sub-return
85645   perl1226        libperl.so                    Perl_pp_return sub-return
85646   perl1226        libperl.so                     Perl_dounwind sub-return
85647   perl1226        libperl.so                Perl_pp_leavesublv sub-return
85648   perl1226        libperl.so                  Perl_pp_leavesub sub-return

Using these probes, we can write some ‘D’ that tells us what Perl is doing at each of its phases – startup, parsing, execution, and cleanup.

First off, accessing function call parameters:

Given 3 essentially identical programs

#!/usr/local/bin/perl -Tw

use strict;

my $initial = "there once was a fish. Its feet were small";
my $post = func($initial);
print "$post\n";

sub func {
    $_[0] =~ s/there/There/;
    return $_[0];
}
#!/usr/local/bin/perl -Tw

use strict;

my $initial = "there once was a fish. Its feet were small";
my $post = func($initial);
print "$post\n";

sub func {
    my ($val) = @_;
    $val =~ s/there/There/;
    return $val;
}
#!/usr/local/bin/perl -Tw

use strict;

my $initial = "there once was a fish. Its feet were small";
my $post = func($initial);
print "$post\n";

sub func {
    my $val = shift;
    $val =~ s/there/There/;
    return $val;
}

There is a myth that using $_[0] is faster, as it doesn’t create a temporary variable…
Dtrace (using the general perl stats gathering dtrace script) shows this to be untrue:

== call1.pl ==========================================================
  perl*::perl_alloc:main_enter
  perl*::perl_alloc:main_exit,  (0/0) (53119 nS)
  perl*::perl_construct:main_enter
  perl*::perl_construct:main_exit,  (12/0) (564370 nS)
  perl*::perl_parse:main_enter
   --> BEGIN, ./call1.pl
    --> bits, /usr/local/lib/perl5/5.8.8/strict.pm
    <-- bits, /usr/local/lib/perl5/5.8.8/strict.pm (3/2) (48060 nS)
    --> import, /usr/local/lib/perl5/5.8.8/strict.pm
    <-- import, /usr/local/lib/perl5/5.8.8/strict.pm (1/0) (15398 nS)
   <-- BEGIN, ./call1.pl (160/80) (1025874 nS)
  perl*::perl_parse:main_exit,  (299/42) (2856399 nS)
  perl*::perl_run:main_enter
   --> func, ./call1.pl
   <-- func, ./call1.pl (1/0) (47723 nS)
  perl*::perl_run:main_exit,  (0/1) (265677 nS)
  perl*::perl_destruct:main_enter
  perl*::perl_destruct:main_exit,  (0/2) (20763 nS)
total, total (0/0) (3789064 nS)
== call2.pl ==========================================================
  perl*::perl_alloc:main_enter
  perl*::perl_alloc:main_exit,  (0/0) (53251 nS)
  perl*::perl_construct:main_enter
  perl*::perl_construct:main_exit,  (12/0) (509684 nS)
  perl*::perl_parse:main_enter
   --> BEGIN, ./call2.pl
    --> bits, /usr/local/lib/perl5/5.8.8/strict.pm
    <-- bits, /usr/local/lib/perl5/5.8.8/strict.pm (3/2) (36748 nS)
    --> import, /usr/local/lib/perl5/5.8.8/strict.pm
    <-- import, /usr/local/lib/perl5/5.8.8/strict.pm (1/0) (9797 nS)
   <-- BEGIN, ./call2.pl (160/80) (924250 nS)
  perl*::perl_parse:main_exit,  (299/38) (2545953 nS)
  perl*::perl_run:main_enter
   --> func, ./call2.pl
   <-- func, ./call2.pl (1/0) (42165 nS)
  perl*::perl_run:main_exit,  (0/1) (142393 nS)
  perl*::perl_destruct:main_enter
  perl*::perl_destruct:main_exit,  (0/2) (20851 nS)
total, total (0/0) (3301007 nS)
== call3.pl ==========================================================
  perl*::perl_alloc:main_enter
  perl*::perl_alloc:main_exit,  (0/0) (52927 nS)
  perl*::perl_construct:main_enter
  perl*::perl_construct:main_exit,  (12/0) (607783 nS)
  perl*::perl_parse:main_enter
   --> BEGIN, ./call3.pl
    --> bits, /usr/local/lib/perl5/5.8.8/strict.pm
    <-- bits, /usr/local/lib/perl5/5.8.8/strict.pm (3/2) (37066 nS)
    --> import, /usr/local/lib/perl5/5.8.8/strict.pm
    <-- import, /usr/local/lib/perl5/5.8.8/strict.pm (1/0) (10171 nS)
   <-- BEGIN, ./call3.pl (160/80) (924824 nS)
  perl*::perl_parse:main_exit,  (297/37) (2543981 nS)
  perl*::perl_run:main_enter
   --> func, ./call3.pl
   <-- func, ./call3.pl (1/0) (41833 nS)
  perl*::perl_run:main_exit,  (0/1) (140527 nS)
  perl*::perl_destruct:main_enter
  perl*::perl_destruct:main_exit,  (0/2) (20273 nS)
total, total (0/0) (3395310 nS)

allocations / deallocations:
     474 /      122 call3.pl
     476 /      123 call2.pl
     476 /      127 call1.pl

Counting up the number of allocations and deallocations in the (0/1) output – and
“<– func, ./call2.pl (1/0) ” is always the same… one allocation.

After all the test runs, I also print out the total allocations for the script,
and it seems that the “my $val = shift” version is the most efficient –
using two fewer allocations (apparently during the parse phase).

The deallocation count is interesting too – with “$[0]” using 5 more deallocations during
the parse phase and “my ($val) = @
;” using one more than the “my $val = shift” option.

In an attempt to reduce the allocations doesn’t seem to help – the following code resulting in 474 allocations,
shift case, but with 3 extra deallocations, again in the parsing phase. Increasing the number of times that func
is called only increases the benefits of using shift.

#!/usr/local/bin/perl -Tw

use strict;

my $initial = "there once was a fish. Its feet were small";
$_ = $initial;
my $post = func();
print "$post\n";

sub func {
    s/there/There/;
    return $_;
}

Interestingly, “my $val = shift” is not only the fastest of the conventions tested, but it also seems that none of the conventions tested cause allocations at run time – they are all done during the parse phase. I guess I’ll have to construct a more complex case, using references / hashes – next time ๐Ÿ™‚

A new begining for Perl and DTrace?

I’ve just created a subversion repository with perl 5.8.8, and the accumulated DTrace patches – including the using is-enabled to reduce the performance impact of the Probes when disabled. Byran and I, (and anyone else that would like to help) will be working slowly towards making Perl a first class DTrace citizen over the coming months. Next stop – Perl Guts Illustrated

Of course, we’ll also port it all to Perl 5.10 – the 20th anniversary release ๐Ÿ™‚

DTrace, Perl and TWiki – on Solaris

I’ve been promising myself some time to try out DTrace on TWiki’s codebase for over a year. By following Bryan Allen’s
instructions using Richard Dawe’s adaption of Alan Burlison’s work… I now have a Perl 5.8.8 with DTrace probes.

Sounds great, except for one thing…. I now have to learn enough about DTrace to use it ๐Ÿ™‚ The patch that Alan and Richard have (or at least their DTrace scripts) seem to require a priori knowledge of the Perl process’ pid… not something thats going to work out for what I want to do.

For a quick test, DTrace -c ./view -s /export/home/sven/src/dtrace/subs-tree.d does show the program flow.

The following is while running some perl scripts – the 2 numbers are their pids.

# dtrace -l | grep -i perl
17803  perl17669        libperl.so                      Perl_pp_sort sub-entry
17804  perl17669        libperl.so                   Perl_pp_dbstate sub-entry
17805  perl17669        libperl.so                  Perl_pp_entersub sub-entry
17806  perl17669        libperl.so                      Perl_pp_last sub-return
17807  perl17669        libperl.so                    Perl_pp_return sub-return
17808  perl17669        libperl.so                     Perl_dounwind sub-return
17809  perl17669        libperl.so                Perl_pp_leavesublv sub-return
17810  perl17669        libperl.so                  Perl_pp_leavesub sub-return
88501  perl17760        libperl.so                      Perl_pp_sort sub-entry
88502  perl17760        libperl.so                   Perl_pp_dbstate sub-entry
88503  perl17760        libperl.so                  Perl_pp_entersub sub-entry
88504  perl17760        libperl.so                      Perl_pp_last sub-return
88505  perl17760        libperl.so                    Perl_pp_return sub-return
88506  perl17760        libperl.so                     Perl_dounwind sub-return
88507  perl17760        libperl.so                Perl_pp_leavesublv sub-return
88508  perl17760        libperl.so                  Perl_pp_leavesub sub-return

so… first ignorant modification – in subs-tree.d, it wants to trace perl$target:::sub-entry – change that to perl*:::sub-entry, and of course, it works exactly as I want – attaches to all subsequent perl process (running my dtrace-perl build) and tells me whats going on. The only caveat being that the DTrace script will only start if there is a Perl process running – the provider is obviously not persistent.

Brilliant!

Should be a fun Christmas holiday adventure – 410 pages of dtrace book, and a myriad of web pages to consume and digest.